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Court Rules in DACA Case
The Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit issued a ruling in the ongoing Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) litigation. In its ruling, the court upheld the district court’s opinion that DACA is illegal and stayed that court’s injunction on the Department of Homeland Security approving new DACA recipients while allowing existing recipients to continue renewing their status. In light of the Biden administration’s DACA final rule released at the end of August, the Court of Appeals has returned the case to the District Court for further review.

Department of Education Releases Debt Relief Application Form
The Department of Education (ED) on Monday released the application for federal student loan debt relief. Borrowers are eligible for federal student debt relief if their individual income is less than $125,000 or $250,000 for households. The application period will remain open until December 31, 2023, although applicants are encouraged to apply before payments on student loans resume next year.

CFPB Says Transcript Withholding Unlawful to Collect Institutional Loan Debt
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) released its recent review of institutions that lend to students directly, looking specifically at the use of transcript withholding as a tool to collect debts owed by students. These CFPB findings expand the scope of institutional lending to include situations in which “institutions also extend credit for postsecondary education through products like deferred tuition or tuition payment plans.”

The CFPB examination found that the blanket withholding of transcripts to pressure borrowers into repayment is an abusive practice under the Consumer Financial Protection Act, and the CFPB directs institutional lenders to stop this practice. The report does not address transcript withholding for overdue tuition and fees.

President Biden Signs Joint Consolidation Loan Separation Act Into Law
President Biden signed into law the Joint Consolidation Loan Separation Act (S.1098). The legislation will allow two borrowers who previously received a joint consolidation loan for their federal student loan debt to separate their debt back into two individual loans. Until now, there has been no mechanism for borrowers to separate the loans, including in cases of divorce or abusive relationships. The Senate passed the bill earlier this summer, and the House passed the bill in late September.

Public Charge Rule to Go Into Effect in December
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS)’s final rule on the public charge ground of inadmissibility is set to go into effect on December 23, 2022. The rule designates a list of public benefits considered for determining public charge inadmissibility to be eligible for a visa, admission to the U.S., or to apply for an adjustment of status. Under the rule, noncitizens may remain eligible to be admitted to the country or to receive a green card if they receive benefits from the federal government, such as Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) or Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) benefits, Medicaid, or housing benefits, among others. In effect, the rule expands the pool of individuals eligible for a green card and for legal admission to the country. Additionally, the rule proposes definitions for previously undefined terms. The rule largely adopts a standard similar to that of a related 1999 regulation that was replaced by a 2019 rule of the Trump administration.

OSTP Biennial Report to Congress on International Science and Technology Cooperation
The National Science and Technology Council recently released their biennial report to Congress on international science and technology cooperation. The report highlights five areas of excellence in the U.S. approach to international science and technology, including status as global leader in many fields, investigator-driven international collaborations, setting and informing standards for global science, and STEM talent recruitment. Seven gaps are identified in the U.S. approach to international science and technology engagement, and the report offers sixteen recommendations to close those gaps.

  • Council on Governmental Affairs

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